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Top Tips for sensible email use

Meaningful Subject Line
Subject lines should indicate what the content of the mail is. If someone has a busy inbox they can easily scan the subjects and choose the mail that is priority to open. If the subject is clear and concise, chances are you will be answered in a timely manner. Avoid casual headers like hello, check this out, or Happy New Year as these are common as spam headers and may be filtered out.

Meet and Greet
A simple hello is acceptable, or salutation of the person you are contacting. Use appropriate words to the content you are sending, and the relationship you have with the receiver. Even in the case of friendship, emails should still read professionally. If you are sending from an email account other than your normal one, note the from address isn't something that could potentially damage relationships, e.g. hotchick@hotmail.

Email Content Netiquette
  • Use spell check. And double check after some cool down time.
  • Don't use all upper case. IT IS CONSIDERED TO BE SHOUTING.
  • Don't use fancy formatting, this is a letter not an original artwork.
  • Remember it is hard to inject emotion into writing. Things can be misconstrued as being harsh, abrupt or rude very easily. Be careful what you write, and look over it several times to check if your words might be misinterpreted. Leave humor out and sarcasm as content is usually taken very literally.
  • Thank you notes are almost always appreciated. If you have asked for input or advice remember to be appreciative. Thank customers for their questions or suggestions.
Sign-Off Properly
Have a constant sign-off or signature. These can be set to insert automatically and should include your name, company name, position (if applicable), contact phone. Business address may need to go here as well. Registered companies need to include registration number, and registered office address. Font colour and style can reflect company brand, or add company logo. Create a professional persona by having staff follow same formula.

Reply, Reply all or Forward
  • Hit reply to answer back to person who sent the email. This helps keep track of a conversation.
  • If mail has an attachment you wish to hand out to new recipient/s then you'll need to forward it to them for the attachments to be kept intact.
  • If you are asked to reply back to someone other than the person sending an email you may need to delete the address when you hit reply and past in the correct one.
  • Most of all take care with the reply all feature. This will send your answer to all addresses the email went out too. There have been many embarrassing moments with staff receiving more personal or sensitive content.
Copy or Blind Copy
  • Carbon Copy, CC or Copy means it will send an exact copy if the email to the recipients you want to notify about information.
  • Blind Carbon Copy, BCC, or Blind Copy, will not show email addresses in that field so you can be secretive about who else gets the information. It should be used sparingly as it can be seen as underhanded. It is good if you have a number of recipients and they don't want their email addresses shared.
Read Receipt
Not used for everyday mailing. if you would like notification a person has received and opened the email use this. Perhaps it is urgent, and you need to know it got there safely. Some recipients might see this as a lack of trust.

No Bulk Emailing, Not Even Opt-In Lists
Sending bulk emails will eventually get you blocked by your ISP, as it is frowned upon with the prevalence of spam. It's unlikely any business will come from it as it is seen as unprofessional. Opt-in lists are rarely successful, and it's best to keep correspondence with those customers' who have expressed interest in updates. One email to a genuinely interested person can result in a lifetime of business.

Let's Make This Perfectly Clear...
NEVER open attachments for anyone you don't know. Or any from people you do know but aren't expecting an attachment from. Double check first. It doesn't matter how official it looks. Coders can easily reproduce pages. A virus could take out all your data, and can be passed to those you email. For the latest virus alerts go to Symantec or Sophos.
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